Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Differential Leveling

The purpose of this lab is to use differential leveling to find the difference in elevation from Sci-Tech up to the library. The students are using transit levels and elevation rods. Part of the exercise is making the notes come out right.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Irony or Serendipity On Carbon Credits?

I was looking for the dates (Nov. 5-8) for the Soc. of American Foresters Convention in Reno next fall, and discovered that the keynote speaker will be Michael J. Walsh, the executive director of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). CCX is the official marketplace for trading carbon credits under a cap and trade arrangement to reduce carbon emissions by industry. It is currently voluntary, but may become mandatory some day under new government regulations. We just heard a discussion on carbon trading at the Allegheny SAF meeting in Carlisle last week. Carbon trading raises many questions. Is it just a way for polluters to pay for continuing pollution or is it a serious effort to reduce pollution? Will the costs of running the market and the profits for the traders outway any benefits to society? I am certainly looking forward to hearing this speaker and attending the Convention!

Allegheny SAF Meeting Followup

Last week's Allegheny SAF meeting in Carlisle into some critical issues in forest management in our region. The Forest Management Practices assignment was to research the topic before the meeting and write a followup report based on the speakers' presentations. Here are the student reports (in their blogs) on these issues:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bio-Control of Invasive Species

The Friday morning program at the Allegneny SAF meeting last week had two interesting presentations on the control of invasive plants in the region.

Dr. Don Davis, a forest pathologist from Penn State described the discovery of two species of Verticillium fungus that seem able to control the spread of Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven). Dr. Davis noticed that stands of Ailanthus in the Tuscarora State Forest were diminishing and even dying.

With his graduate students he isolated two species of soil fungi that seemed to be doing the quick. V. albo-atrum kills trees quickly and V. dahlia doesn't kill the trees outright but causes symptoms of morbidity and reduced growth. A lot of work remains to be done to determine if these fungi can be used on a wider scale to control the rapidly-spreading tree of heaven. Here is Dr. Davis' web site.

Mile-a-minute is a rapidly spreading weed in the mid-Atlantic. Originally from China, the variety in the US is thought to have come from China. Here is a link to more information on mile-a-minute.

Dr. Judith Hough-Goldstein from the University of Delaware described research to introduce a weevil from China that can slow down or suppress mile-a-minute. The stem-boring weevil, Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev, attacks the plant from the inside. It won't kill mile-a-minute, but will reduce it to manageable levels. Here is the web page that describes the work and how to get weevils to try out on your own infestations.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Allegheny Society of American Foresters Meeting

Originally uploaded by P_Linehan.

Fifteen forest technology students from Penn State Mont Alto attended the Winter meeting of the Allegheny SAF in Carlisle on Thursday.



The quiz bowl team of Frank Grano, Chance Yeckley, and Eric Monger won the Quiz Bowl after an exciting match agains Penn State University Park.


John Schwartzer (Mont Alto alum and UP forestry senior) leads a student discussion on issues in forestry education.



Among the issues discussed at the meeting were bio-energy from forests in PA, carbon markets, wood pellet systems for heating school buildings, forestry education in the Allegheny region, and advances in biological controls of invasive plants. The students in the forest management practices class will be writing reports on the meeting for their blogs. I will add links in this space next week.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Burn Pile Service Project

Originally uploaded by P_Linehan.

Penn State Mont Alto forestry students are lighting the burn pile on the nursery field. Volunteers will work shifts all weekend to guard the fire. Much of this material came from the ice storm last December that cut power to campus over a whole weekend. Bring on the hot dogs!

Find more of the pictures on Facebook or Flickr.